Team Biology at Examples.com
Created by: Team Biology at Examples.com, Last Updated: July 5, 2024


The Centrosome of cellular biology with our comprehensive guide to centrosomes, Two centrioles, arranged perpendicularly to each other, form the core structure of the centrosome in animal cells. This detailed exploration offers insights into the structure, function, and crucial role of centrosomes in ensuring accurate chromosome segregation and maintaining cellular integrity. Through vivid examples, learn how centrosomes influence cell cycle progression, mitosis, and overall cellular health. Enhanced with cutting-edge research and easy-to-understand explanations, this guide is your gateway to understanding one of the cell’s most fundamental components.

What is Centrosome?

The centrosome is a crucial cellular structure that plays a key role in the organization of microtubules in animal cells. Positioned near the nucleus, the centrosome acts as the main microtubule organizing center (MTOC) of the cell, facilitating the assembly of the microtubule network that spans the entire cell. This network is essential for various cellular processes, including cell division, intracellular transport, and maintaining the cell’s shape and structure. A typical centrosome comprises two orthogonally arranged centrioles surrounded by a complex and amorphous matrix known as the pericentriolar material (PCM). The centrioles are cylindrical structures, each made up of nine triplets of microtubules, and they play a pivotal role during cell division.

Structure of Centrosome

The centrosome is a key cellular structure, pivotal in the organization of microtubules and in facilitating the process of cell division. At its core, the centrosome comprises two orthogonally arranged cylindrical structures known as centrioles, surrounded by a complex and dynamic matrix of proteins called the pericentriolar material (PCM). Each centriole measures approximately 500 nanometers in length and is composed of nine triplets of microtubules arranged in a circular pattern.

  1. Centriole Composition: Centrosomes consist of two centrioles, each made up of nine triplets of microtubules arranged in a circle, crucial for their role in cell division.
  2. Orthogonal Arrangement: The centrioles within the centrosome are arranged orthogonally, providing structural integrity and facilitating their role in microtubule organization.
  3. Pericentriolar Material (PCM): Surrounding the centrioles, the PCM contains proteins essential for microtubule nucleation and stabilization, contributing to the centrosome’s role in the cell’s structural organization.
  4. Role in Mitotic Spindle Formation: The centrosome is instrumental in forming the mitotic spindle during cell division, ensuring accurate chromosome segregation into daughter cells.
  5. Centrosome Duplication: The centrosome duplicates once per cell cycle, guaranteeing that each daughter cell receives a centrosome, thus maintaining essential cellular functions and division accuracy.

Functions of Centrosome

The centrosome plays several vital roles in cellular processes, notably in:

  1. Microtubule Organization: Serves as the main microtubule organizing center (MTOC) of the cell, crucial for determining cell shape, polarity, and intracellular transport.
  2. Cell Division: During mitosis, the centrosomes orchestrate the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for chromosome segregation into daughter cells.
  3. Cell Cycle Progression: Centrosomes play a role in the regulation of the cell cycle, ensuring that cell division occurs correctly and at the right time.
  4. Cytokinesis: Involved in the formation of the spindle midzone, which is crucial for cytokinesis, the process that physically divides the cell following mitosis.

Centrosome in Plant Cells

Centrosome in Plant Cells (1)



Plant cells typically do not have centrosomes as found in animal cells. Instead, they possess structures called microtubule-organizing centers (MTOCs) that perform a similar role in organizing the cell’s microtubules. These structures are crucial during cell division, especially in the formation of the spindle apparatus, but they do not contain the centriole pair commonly found in animal cell centrosomes. Plant cells rely on other mechanisms and structures to organize their microtubules and ensure proper cell division and growth.

Centrosome in Animal Cells


Centrosome in Animal Cells (1)

In animal cells, the centrosome plays a pivotal role in organizing microtubules, which are essential for cell shape, organization, and division. Each centrosome contains a pair of centrioles surrounded by protein-rich material known as pericentriolar material (PCM) which aids in microtubule nucleation and anchoring. The centrosome duplicates before cell division, with each pair organizing the spindle fibers required for chromosome segregation. This ensures that each daughter cell receives the correct number of chromosomes, maintaining genetic stability.


What is the main function of a centrosome?

The main function of a centrosome is to organize microtubules and regulate the cell cycle, especially during cell division.

What is the centrosome amplification?

Centrosome amplification refers to the presence of more than two centrosomes in a cell, often linked to cancer progression.

What would happen if a cell is devoid of centrosome?

Without a centrosome, a cell might face difficulties in organizing its microtubules, leading to errors in cell division and structure.

The centrosome, as the cell’s microtubule organizing center, is fundamental to cellular integrity and functionality. It orchestrates the layout of the cellular skeleton, ensuring accurate cell division and proper cellular organization. The study of centrosomes not only deepens our understanding of cell biology but also unveils potential targets for therapeutic interventions in centrosome-related diseases. Its pivotal role in cellular processes highlights the importance of meticulous regulation for maintaining cellular and organismal health.

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